Tessa’s Gallery

My work 2022 – 2023

A busy year, the highlight being getting two of my ‘Turner’ paintings into the Royal West of England 169th Open Exhibition in Bristol. I’d been preselected before but not hung. It was a pleasure being in the same exhibition as other artists I respect and admire. It was also the first exhibition I’d been in where I thought my work fitted in perfectly!

‘Picnic Invitation’ 75cm x 75cm

‘A fit for scribbling’ 35cm x 35cm

I’m now working on a new series, with more muted colours I’ve taken directly from Turner’s work.

‘Picnic Invitation small’ 35cm x 35cm

Work in progress. 75cm x 75cm

Same picture in different lighting conditions.

My Work – 2020/2022

The year of the pandemic was mixed! Exhibitions on line didn’t work well as my paintings need to be seen. After the article Sam Smiles wrote about my work for The Turner Society in 2020 I worked on a commission and took up drawing again. I continued to developed more screens with letters Turner wrote about his obsession with ‘Time’.


My Work – 2019

My work in 2019  developed on dramatically. I acquired more maps of London to use, this time dated 1799. They include all areas frequented by Turner including Somerset House home of the RA, Maiden Lane in Covent Garden where Turner was born,  Lincoln’s Inn Fields home of Sir John Soane and Queen Ann Street and Harley Street where Turner lived and had his gallery.  The maps not only show all the individual buildings but they are all numbered accurately. I’ve used larger screens and the maps, although in the background, are clearer. Silk screen printing onto canvas is not easy. This year I’ve perfected the screen images and my method of printing. But the biggest difference is going from quiet tonal colours to a highly contrasting range of pigments. This required a leap of faith and much experimenting. Each painting threw up its own set of problems but I’m happy with the results.

I decided to work on a set scale of 75cm square. Any bigger and it was too difficult to hold all the separate elements together. I have, however, done a set of smaller 30cm square pieces which did work partly because I’ve made up screens using different sizes of text. This worked really well in the larger pieces especially with extras like the postage marks and Turner’s signature.

In 2019 I entered my work in several selected exhibitions round the country:

‘DTTV Spring Exhibition’ at The Tamar Valley Centre, Cornwall – March 2019

‘The Bath Society of Arts Open’ at the Victoria Gallery, Bath – May 2019

‘Launceston Shop Window Exhibition’, part of the Charles Causley Festival – June 2019

‘DTTV Summer Exhibition’ at The Butchers Hall, Tavistock- August 2019

‘DTTV Open Studios’ here at Callington School of Art, Cornwall – August 2019

‘The Society of Women Artists’ at the Mall Galleries, London – September 2019

‘South West Academy Open 2019’ at Exeter Castle – November 2019



‘My Book of Time’         acrylic and silk screen print     75cmx75cm

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‘We had to march or rather flounder up to our knees nothing less in snow all the way down’         acrylic and silk screen print     75cmx75cm

'We had to march or rather flounder up to our knees nothing less in snow all the way down 5mb'

‘If you like what I have done’         acrylic and silk screen print     75cmx75cm

'If you like what I have done' 5mb

‘If you like what I have done’         acrylic and silk screen print     75cmx75cm


‘I would put it down in my book of Time”         acrylic and silk screen print     75cmx75cm

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‘My Endeavour to please you’          acrylic and silk screen print     75cmx75cm

'My Enseavour to please you' 3mb

‘Conversation’          acrylic and silk screen print     75cmx75cm

My book of Time- blue

‘Discussion between Turner and John Soane’        acrylic and silk screen print   75cmx75cm

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My Work 2018

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‘My Book of Time’       acrylic and silk screen print     75cmx75cm


It was at the end of 2017 that I started to research Turner’s handwriting. Samples of his handwriting on the internet available in high resolution were few and far between. By researching I found ‘The Collected Correspondence of JMW Turner’ which gave me the provenance of all his known letters. After contacting all the large archives in London I set about trying to wade through the copyright use and commercial licences attached to the use of the letters. I appreciate that the archive libraries of The British Library, The Royal Academy, The Tate and The Sir John Soane’s and Ashmolean Museums eventually waivered the use of these licences for me. Both the Royal Academy and Sir John Soane’s Museum allowed me to handle and photograph the letters including some not in my book of Turner’s letters. I chose the letters to use not only for the quality of the handwriting but for the stories they tell. It’s through reading these very personal letters that we get a real idea of how Turner lived and worked. Although he was much respected by some, others cruelly criticised him and his unusual but purely inventive ways of working.

sandycombe painting

‘Genius will always find its own path’   acrylic and silk screen print     75cmx75cm (sold)


My A4 concertina workbook on ‘Turner Letters’ series 2018



In 2018 I’ve entered my work in some selected exhibitions round the country. I was pre selected for the RWA exhibition on Bristol. I exhibited at:

‘DTTV Spring Exhibition’ at The Tamar Valley Centre, Cornwall – March 2018

‘DTTV Summer Exhibition’ at The Butchers Hall, Tavistock- August 2018

‘DTTV Open Studios’ here at Callington School of Art, Cornwall – August 2018

‘The South West Academy Open’ SWAc at Exeter – September 2018

‘Drawn to London’ The Royal Opera Arcade Gallery, Pall Mall, London – November 2018

‘DTTV Winter Exhibition’ at The Tamar Valley Centre, Cornwall – November 2018

My work – 2016/7

print2 on japanese paper.jpg

After our trip to Japan at the end of 2017 I can’t wait to use the various Japanese papers I acquired. The papers are all hand made with extraordinary textures woven into them. I’m also keen to develop my 2017 works that are transparent and continue working with cyanotype prints on material. Lots of ideas to play with!

In 2016/7 I experimented using Turner’s handwriting. These works were a follow up to using the writings of contemporaries of Turner, describing his working practice when he travelled in this area of Cornwall.

I used his handwritten letters and notes from his sketchbooks including pages of Turner’s poetry, some descriptions of places he visited as well as extracts where he has described the effects of lighting and use of abstract imagery.

My preliminary sketches were digital to see how the handwriting worked with the maps of this area. I’ve also enlarged sections of his writings and transferred them onto silk screens for printing into both small and large canvases. Some are just textures of overlaying layers of different writings. Others are printed onto pages of 19th century poets and writers, while others are on music scores and maps of where he lived and worked in London.

Some of my colours come from the actual faded colours of the sketchbook pages. In order to see the different layers of text I’ve sometimes made each one a different colour, often using gold, silver or copper colours so that when the painting is viewed from different angles the light catches the different layers of text.

london letter bw
turner letter 17 72 2
‘Letters from Turner’ (collage with digital print)
hameg 17 72 2
‘Honouring a Most Extraordinary Genius’  2016 (acrylic, collage and silk screen print on canvas)
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‘Study for Turner in the Tamar Valley’ (digital layered print on acetate and paper)
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‘Homage to Handwriting’ (acrylic with layered silk screen print on canvas)
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‘Letters from Turner’ digital layered print with London location
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‘Notes from Turner’ 4 (acrylic and silk screen layered on canvas)
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‘Copper, Silver, Lead and Tin’ 2 (acrylic, collage and silk screen print on canvas)

Landscape Works – 2017

sea 17 72 2
‘Cliff View’ (acrylic and ink on paper)
rocks 17 72 2
‘Pink Rocks – detail’ (acrylic on paper)
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‘Trebarwith Coastline’ (acrylic on canvas)


Text Paintings 2015

The following paintings are a result of the 2014 storms.

They contain different elements of sea charts of the south coast of cornwall together with the full shipping forecast for 12 February 2014.

Both elements are silk screen printed into the painting.

The following four paintings are 50cm square.

They were exhibited at ‘Terre Verte’ gallery.

In 2022 – present, a large selection of my Shipping Forecast works are on sale at:

‘Tre, Pol and Pen’ near Launceston, PL15 9NN, Cornwall.

Becoming very roughs
‘Becoming very rough’
'Increasingly severe gale 9'
‘Increasingly severe gale 9’
'Storm 10 to hurricane force 12'
‘Storm 10 to hurricane force 12’
'There are warnings of gales'
‘There are warnings of gales’

Text Paintings 2014

This set of paintings were completed in 2014 and were done in preparation for the later larger paintings. These are 30cm square. They were exhibited at ‘Terre Verte’ gallery.

plymouth south veering southwest
‘Plymouth south veering southwest’
'Southwest severe gale 9'
‘Southwest severe gale 9’
Rough at first in south'
‘Rough at first in south’
Wednesday 12 February 2014'
‘Wednesday 12 February 2014’


Text Paintings 2013

These paintings were the first small set using the 2011 shipping forecast with elements from sea charts.

They were exhibited at The Barrow Centre, Mt. Edgcumbe in the ‘Past, Present and Future’ exhibition in the future work section.

'Mounts Bay'
‘Mounts Bay’


Text Paintings 2012

I first worked with shipping charts, here with Spike Island.

'Spike Island'
‘Spike Island’

Text Paintings 2011

I worked on the first series of Shipping Forecast pieces. They are painted and silk screen printed onto canvas and sometimes on to glass. They were created for the DTTV exhibition at Royal William Yard, Plymouth, next door to The British Art Show 2011.

Shipping Forecast 3

The works are inspired by the rhythm and beauty of the words, the general synopsis of sea area forecasts and coastal stations. The words are unique and so distinctive. Someone, somewhere in the world depends on them. In the choral work of Cecilia McDowall they sound like poetry, in a written form they can be seen more carefully with patterns evolving in them. Spoken or sung they have their own rhythm, written they are visual poetry. In the paintings they are words not to be read in the conventional way but words to draw you into the picture, layers of textures fading in and out of the painted surface. They read like snippets of conversation. The ideas came to me after looking at a series of videos by Sam Taylor Wood in which the viewer can’t quite make out the conversations in a room but occasionally hear odd words every now and again.


Text Works with Mixed Media

This work is based on the poem ‘Two Lovers and a Beachcomber by the Real Sea’ by Sylvia Plath. It is made up of a watercolour sketch done on a local beach with added pastel pencil and flotsam from the beach, interspersed with the text of the poem.










Watercolour/Pastel Paintings...

Reed Beds at Cotehele Quay
Wistmans Wood
Sand at Widemouth Bay


The reed beds at Cotehele Quay change colours with the seasons. It’s frequently used as one of our locations on our courses

Wistmans Wood is an ancient oak woodland on Dartmoor.

A good location for our artists who like a walk as well as painting.


©Tessa Sulston 2023

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